Archive | June 2017

VisualSP in SharePoint

Well, I was part of governance team who decides the process on smooth operations of SharePoint post its migration to the new system. One of the pain points was to educate the end user on SP 2013.

Switching MOSS to SP 2013 was a drastic change for the user and they were desperately looking for training materials.One of the common approaches is to create KB articles , but again question arises : how often to update , what topics to add/update and how best one can draft the document which may need the expertise of content writers.

Of course, we came up with this approach for L2 support engineers that was effective in the troubleshooting, however there was a separate tooling system that was integrated with SP and known as VisualSP . VisualSP provides loads of materials in the form of videos ,documentations , tips on the ribbon in specific to a SharePoint page.Furthermore, it also offers In-context help content for the end user.

For instance, If a user is on the SiteSettings page, the tool loads all the help topics/videos on ribbon section in relation to the page, i.e : the possible actions/operations that can be performed on the page.

Installation is quite simple that involves installing a package on a WFE server, followed by an option to expose this feature either to all site collections or specific site collections.The feature enabled will furnish loads of contents and I bet users would find this very handy for their daily operations that further can reduce the support tickets for assitance.In addition, the contents can be hidden from few users by managing their permissions at the site collection level.



Retain workflow history

In the recent times , I was involved in a migration from MOSS to SP 2013 which involved lot of challenges and learning.Between, one such important activity I would like to share is to retain the workflow history of an item when it is acted upon by the approvers.

The workflow history for an item exist only for a mere 60 days , however it is crucial for business to keep track / audit of the item whose outcome could be either approved or rejected.It becomes a challenge for a developer to tweak this OOTB feature in SharePoint.After spending lot of time investigating we came up with a strategy:

Athough the history is wiped out for an item in the list, the data do still exist in the workflow history list that is hidden by design in SharePoint.


The link will take the user to the Workflow History list – a repository of all the history data.One of the ways to track history data of an item is to filter the list by Item based on their ID . This will fetch all the relevant data.

The equivalent URL is :


Obviously, this does not serve the purpose for the end user as this is not a user friendly solution and I am sure that most the users may not be happy with this.

The workaround would be to add a calculated column to the list and pre-configure it with the URL mentoined above.This will generate a hyperlink for the user to navigate.However, to get a user friendly name it is advised to use something like :


You could try the above steps and try for yourselves.